By Kate Hubley
“The more light and sparkle a piece has, the more we are attracted to it—just like a person.”
~Rémi Sayegh, stone setter
Have you ever gotten lost in the facets of an exquisitely cut gemstone or in the celestial patterns of a beautiful polycrystalline cabochon? They capture our fascination with the story of their journey from the depths of the Earth to their final destination: mounted in a stunning piece of jewellery.
To some, gemstones are charged with spiritual energy; to others, they are coveted opulence. Whatever the allure to our individual eyes, as we design and work at the bench, we inevitably want to include more gemstones in our work. They add depth, texture, value, and—of course—a glorious pop of colour and light. (More on gems and setting is at www.gemdat.org, www.gia.edu, or at www.ganoksin.com. Another good resource is Creative Stonesetting by John Cogswell.)
Yet, which comes first—the design idea you want to enhance with a coloured gemstone, or the gemstone you want to design around? Did the planets suddenly align when you landed your gaze on a stone and, out of nowhere, the design just happened, your imagination and creativity magically sparked?
“Adding stones to your designs is like decorating a tree,” says Rémi Sayegh, a Montréal-based stone setter. “It is all about light and life. It is an art.”
However, he cautions, adding too much to a piece may tip it into garish.
The artfulness of adding stones is a notion shared by Joe Bertucci of Bertucci Jewellers, a high-end design and manufacturing studio in Westmount, Qué.
“The perception of beauty of a piece of jewellery and the stones a designer chooses varies from person to person,” Bertucci says. “Everyone has different tastes, and it is the designer’s quest for beauty that is the art form.”
So, what are some of the most important steps to take on this quest for beauty?